Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Fruitful in the Place of Affliction

Leslie Basham: When you’re headed into a stressful situation, remember this from Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Wherever you’re going, He will go with you. He will go in you. He wants to make you fruitful—even in the place if your affliction.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, December 11, 2014.

Over the last couple of days, Nancy’s talked about God’s faithfulness in times of trouble. If you missed any of this practical message, you can hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

She delivered this message to close the recent True Woman '14 Conference. It’s been a study of Psalm 107, which talks honestly about life’s struggles. Nancy’s here to show us how this passage also offers hope.

Nancy: So we've seen trouble, crying, deliverance, and what comes next? Praise and thanksgiving. There's a refrain that's repeated four times in this chapter, and the first two lines are the same each time. 

"Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man."

Quoting again my friend, Charles Spurgeon. He says, "They must be horrible ingrates who will not honor such a deliverer for so happy a rescue from the most cruel death."

Listen, if you're a child of God, God has already redeemed and delivered you from the worst possible outcome that anyone from sin, from Satan, from hell, from eternal damnation and condemnation, from the wrath of God. You have been delivered.

 

You may be in a storm. You may be in some other kinds of chains, but you've been delivered in the ways that matter most for all of time and eternity. So says the psalmist, "Give thanks to the Lord. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so."

One devotional writer I've been reading says, "A soul redeemed demands a life of praise." You might want to just write that in the margin of your Bible there. I've written it in mine. "A soul redeemed demands a life of praise."

Women, if you've been redeemed, if I've been redeemed, it is unthinkable that we should live lives of anything other than unceasing, unending praise and thanksgiving and worship. Now, we may do that through tears. We may do it at times when all around us seems dark, when the waves are so high that we're sick to our stomachs and we can't see over them. We can't see beyond them. We can't find our way. We're wandering around. We're at our wits' end.

We lift our eyes up to heaven into the light of His face. Up from our darkness and we say, "Oh, God, I choose to believe that You are good, that Your steadfast love endures forever. I give You thanks that I have been redeemed."

A lady wrote to us and she said,

Years back, back in the early days of Revive Our Hearts radio, I was a heap of a mess on my kitchen floor as you spoke about loving your husband. This past week, fast forward, I was once again a heap of slobbering mess. But this time it was out of pure joy, thanksgiving, adoration, worship, and praise to my heavenly Father for His unending, undeserved faithfulness, grace and mercy. The Lord has restored my family and my marriage. [And here I think this is even more important.] He has rescued me out of the slimy pit of self.

And every day let the redeemed of the Lord say so? Every day I have the glorious opportunity of speaking biblical truth into the hearts of discouraged women.

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord for he is good. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so."

Well, let me just walk us quickly through the conclusion here, starting in verse 33, where we see just a reminder of the sovereignty of God over all of life.

Verse 33: "He turns rivers into a desert." You say, "Umm, I'm not sure I want that." "Springs of water into thirsty ground." We're going the wrong way here. "A fruitful land into a salty waste." Don't want that. Why? "Because of the evil of its inhabitants."

Let me just say a word to some who may be here that you feel really satisfied with the way things are in your life right now. Things are comfortable. You think everything is just going fine. And that's okay to have some of those seasons; God is a God of seasons.

But I want to tell you this, if in the midst of you thinking everything is going okay, if in the midst of that your heart is not turned toward Him, if you are covering sin, if you are living in a slimy pit of self, God can with a word change the course of your life.

He can turn those rivers into a desert. He can turn those springs of water, what you think are springs of water, into thirsty ground. He can turn what you think is a fruitful land into a salty waste.

And let me say to those with prodigal children or friends, husbands, important word here, all of those women who were crying in the aisles last night? Be willing to let God be God in that person's life. And be willing to let God do whatever He knows is needed in their life to make them desperate for Him. Because when are they going to cry out to God? When they're in trouble, right?

Sometimes the trouble needs to get to be bigger trouble. You're a mom and you're a wife and you love your kid and you don't want to see him hurt. And some of you are perpetually trying to rescue your kids and your mates and everybody around you from the cross. God's trying to get them to the cross, and you're always trying to get them off the cross.

You may get them off, but they'll be bloodied, weak, and wounded. God wants them to come whole to be redeemed, to be rescued from their sin. So let God be God. Don't try to rescue them from the cross. Don't you put them on the cross, okay? You let God do what He knows is needed.

But here is the good news. Know that whatever discipline God brings about in our lives or those we love, He can also with a word restore. Look at verse 35: "He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in."

You see, in this psalm we've seen spelled out the theme of this weekend. He wants to take you to a place of freedom. Verse 16: "For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron." That sounds like freedom to me. Get up. You're free. Go. Sin no more. Freedom.

Look at the fullness in verse 9: "For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things." Freedom, fullness, and look now at fruitfulness, verse 37.

These people who've been through all these. They've been in trouble, they've cried, they've been delivered, they're giving thanks. Look at verse 37. Now "they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield." By His blessing.

God sent chastisement, He sent discipline, He sent trouble, He sent storms. But now He sends blessing. They multiply greatly, and He does not let their livestock diminish.

Verse 41: "He raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks." That's not just for married people, by the way, too. God put the solitary, the single, in families. God wants to make you fruitful. You're going to sow the fields. You're going to plant the vineyards, verse 37, but God's going to give the increase. A fruitful yield.

He's going to bless, and you're going to multiply greatly. As you're needy and you cry out to Him, He's going to raise you up, and He's going to make us have families like flocks. Fruitfulness in Christ.

A lot of women in this room are going home to hard places. Hard jobs, ungodly environments. For a few days here you've been able to kind of push that stuff out of your mind, and here we are sitting on the mountaintop listening to God's Word and singing songs and loving Jesus. And a few hours from now, you're going to be in a whole different place.

We have 600 senior pastors' wives here. Some of them I can tell you are hurting really badly. Some of them, some of you are in churches that if God doesn't intervene, it's chaos, it's a mess. It's not what it is supposed to be.

So you're going back to that tomorrow, if not sooner. But I want to tell you this, wherever you're going, He will go with you. He will go in you, and He wants to make you fruitful even in the place of your affliction.

 

You can experience fullness, freedom, and fruitfulness in Christ as long as you keep abiding in Him and letting Him have His way, letting him be God, trusting Him with what you can't understand, not demanding answers, not demanding fixes. Yes, crying out, and then trusting God to deliver in His way.

Not only does God want to turn some of the desert places where you are in His way and time into fruitful places, but for generations to come the fruit of your walk with Christ will be experienced in the lives of coming generations.

One commentator says about this conclusion here, "Although there are ups and downs in this life, the end of all things for God's people is not down, but up." Can you remember that? "We know this and we look for it because we know that God is both good and sovereign. God loves us. And because He does, He comforts us, preserves us, and brings us through even the hardest experiences in life."

Two more verses. What's the outcome? Verse 42: "The upright see it and are glad."

There's joy for the people of God. Anybody here leaving with joy greater than what you came with? Some of you get your joy cup filled? (applause) Joy is not an emotion. It affects us in our emotions, but joy is the presence of Christ with me, in me, through me in the midst of the storm and the pain.

But look what else happens as this redemptive story is lived out, as the gospel is lived out through us. I love this. "All wickedness shuts its mouth." Shut up! All wickedness. You see here the restraint of evil.

When God's people are being the people of God, as we're living in freedom and fullness and fruitfulness in Christ, in God's time. I watched the news today and I'm going, "God, let wickedness shut its mouth." There are the encroaching powers of false religions and evil people in this world.

You say, "Yes, it's bad out there, but it's true in my world where I live, in my workplace, in my family. There's so much evil." I want to tell you one day as you walk with Him through this, all wickedness will shut its mouth. (applause)

And could I say, too, that means also all the wickedness that's in here, in my heart, in your heart. Listen, it's a proud heart that only sees the wickedness out there and thinks it's their problem, it's their issue, it's their fault. That's pride.

The heart of humility says, "Lord, it's not my brother. It's not my sister. It's me, oh Lord. Uproot the wickedness out of my own heart." And through Christ all that wickedness can shut its mouth.

Final exhortation, verse 43: "Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord."

Listen, there are women in this room who feel like you don't deserve His goodness, His mercy, His love. You're thinking, I deserve what I'm getting—that storm, the prison.

A lady came to me last night and said, "I made some very foolish choices much like Chrissy's, and I've repented. I've come back to the Lord, but we're still pulling out thorns in my life."

So some feeling, I deserve what I'm getting. And some of you may be reluctant to run into His arms, reluctant to believe that that steadfast love of the Lord could be for you.

Can I just say, first of all, you're right about one thing? We don't deserve it. You don't deserve it. Those of us who think we deserve it don't deserve it. We don't deserve the steadfast love of the Lord. But He gives it anyway. He gives it to undeserved rebels, enemies, undeserving.

And knowing that, can I remind you that you don't have to perform to be loved by Him. You don't have to fix your own life. Cry out to Him, and believe Him to come and do by His grace what you could never do.

Could we bow our hearts in prayer in these closing moments? I want to just ask you two questions in this quiet moment. First of all, did you identify with some of the trouble we read about? Maybe right now are you lost, wandering? In some sort of prison? Sick, storm tossed?

What do you do when you're in trouble? Cry out to the Lord. A lot of women did that last night. But crying out to the Lord shouldn't be just something we do when an invitation's given. It's something we ought to be doing all the time. Don't stop. Keep crying out. Keep praying. Keep looking up. Cry out to the Lord.

Keep crying out and believe in His way and in His time He will rescue you. He will bring you to your desired haven.

The second question, have you been redeemed? Have you been delivered from trouble? What do you do? Two things, you give thanks. Would you do that just right now from your heart? Maybe just whisper a prayer of thanks for His redeeming love in your life, for His goodness.

And then you tell others. "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so." Declare it to God. Declare it to others.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss, talking about God’s faithfulness in times of trouble. Nancy will be back in a few minutes.

Before Nancy’s back, we want to give a couple listeners the opportunity to do what Nancy just described. They want to give praise to God for what He’s been doing in their lives.

Khaliliah Shelton: My name is Khaliliah Shelton. I'm from Cleveland, Ohio.

Leslie: She’s been greatly affected by a workbook called True Woman 101 by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Khaliliah: I first heard about True Woman 101 at a mom's group that I attend. It was the workbook for class. We went through the study week by week.

I’ve done workbooks before, but I've not been known to finish them. So I looked at it as one of those things that I would start and kind of go through it. I didn't expect too much. I would try to get my work done. But I wasn't excited about it at first.

I started actually reading and doing the homework, and I went, "Whoa!" 

Leslie: True Woman 101 was challenging a lot of what Kaliliah had learned about what it means to be a woman.

Khaliliah: And then I started reading the Scriptures that Nancy and Mary had in the book to back up what they were saying, and you can't deny what the Scripture says. I was overwhelmed by how my thinking had gone so far into a worldly way of thinking, even as a Christian, even being in the church for a while now. My thinking was divided.

When I read the Scriptures and the Lord began to show me areas of my life where I was thinking along the worldly way as opposed to the scriptural way, it was something I was forced to deal with.

I believe the Scripture is God's inerrant Word. I began to get more and more excited about the study after I was offended by the Word of God. He really changed my heart to be able to received what He had to say.

Leslie: When she started the study, Khalilah had left her job as an engineer at a pharmaceutical company. She wanted to make her three children her top priority. The study True Woman 101 encouraged her as she lived out this choice.

Khaliliah: It really helped me understand that my role as a mother and as a wife are not menial in any way, shape, or form. The work we do is not menial, whether we change diapers or write reports in corporate America. It doesn't matter as long as it is for His glory and in obedience to what He has called us as individual women to be.

I have two daughters. I can't imagine having passed down through another generation the lies that I have been told—not that I would purposely lie to them, but just valuing my experience over the Word of the Lord; valuing what I had been through and the good things as opposed to thinking biblically. Passing that on to my daughters is going to be . . . I hope that they will approach life a lot differently than I did. I hope they won't have to struggle through some of the same things I struggled through. Not just physically, but mentally—where their hearts are.

I also have a son who has to, one day if the Lord wills, find a wife. He has to know what to look for. But he first needs to know who he is, how he is, the way he is. So first he understands this is the way God made me. And then this is what I need to look for when I look for a wife. Hopefully, she'll be something like his mother.

Leslie: Khalilah was so excited about True Woman 101, she wanted to share it with her friend who was about to get married. 

Salina Turner: My name is Salina Turner. I'm from Cleveland, Ohio. 

Leslie: Salina wasn’t that excited, but started the study for Khalilah’s sake.

Salina: So I went ahead got the book, and we started it. The first week I was blown away. First of all, I felt like I had gotten punched in my face several times by what it was saying. I did not understand what I was reading. I was processing it. It was very difficult at first because it was totally contrary to what I thought a true woman was and what I thought womanhood was. From then on I was like I need to move forward and see what's going to come. 

Leslie: Like her friend, Salina checked True Woman 101 with the Bible.

Salina: I studied the Scripture as well. I looked up the Scripture. I looked at all the exercises and the intro stories. It all came together. It was just crazy to read what it was saying, and then to go to the Scripture and say, "This is like real!" It's not like Nancy and Mary would come up with a book that's not true. But the fact that it was backed up with Scripture was just shocking to me.

I felt a couple of different ways. I felt, "This is crazy. I've never heard this before." Then I felt angry a little bit, too. Over the course of the study you think that the devil has really pulled a fast one over all of us. We completely have the wrong perspective of what a woman is. How many women don't know what a true woman is! How many women in my own family don't know what a true woman is. The Scriptures just completely smack you in the face with, "This is the truth!" You really do feel those two ways. You feel excited, and you feel angry at the same time.

Leslie: Salina went through True Woman 101 in the weeks leading up to her wedding—which gave her a strong, biblical foundation for marriage.

Salina: On my mom’s side of the family there are no marriages that lasted. They either never got married at all, or they got divorced. On my dad's side there is only one lasting marriage. I will say that obviously, marriage is two people serving each other. But I believe if my aunts knew what a true woman was, some of the marriages would have survived. I think choices would have been different as far as you choose who would be your spouse.

Leslie: Here’s one thing in True Woman 101 that stands out to Salina.

Salina: That actually being a woman is a way to display His glory. It's not the things that I do—having children or getting married or being single—that doesn't define me as a woman. That's not the design. He wanted to display His love to us in two ways—males and female. It's amazing. I'm just grateful to know what a true woman is and to be able to be a true woman for my husband and for my future children and for the women in my neighborhood and other women.

It's like a ripple effect. Now I'm doing the study with someone and I have to call here and get this set up and get the study done. I'm so grateful my friend shared this study with me. My children, ultimately, and my husband and future generations will benefit from it.

Leslie: Revive Our Hearts is producing resources like True Woman 101 to help women thrive in Christ. It’s part of an overall ministry goal of calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. Here’s Khaliliah again.

Khaliliah: Revive Our Hearts is a place to go when the world has beat you down. It's a place to go where there are things that you don't understand why they are the way they are. The world says they are okay, but there is something that as a Christian, in you heart, you know that's not the truth.

I heard that you know counterfeit money by seeing real money, not by seeing counterfeit things. So to know the real thing, and Revive Our Hearts brings that out. You know the real thing. And when you see a counterfeit you say, "I can't go for that—absolutely not—because I know the real thing."

Leslie: Revive Our Hearts was able to produce True Woman 101 thanks to listeners who support the ministry.  We’re thankful for how God is using this small group study. And, Nancy, I know you’re excited about some similar resources on the way. 

Nancy: I’m so excited about what’s on the horizon here are Revive Our Hearts. Mary Kassian and I are hard at work on a new resource for small groups called True Woman 201: Interior Design. It's a sequel to an earlier study we wrote called True Woman 101 about biblical womanhood.

This week we are recording the video portion of that curriculum so that small groups will be able to watch together and discuss the material.

And we’re getting ready for True Woman '15 in the Dominican Republic—our first international True Woman Conference. And later this year, we are getting ready for Revive '15, a conference for ministry leaders. 

But I’m also excited that every single weekday in 2015, women will be pointed to God’s Word through the daily radio program, podcasts, transcripts, and blogs. That daily connection to biblical truth is so important for all of us we seek to thrive in Christ. 

In order to continue with these big projects and daily ministry, we’re asking the Lord to provide for some significant financial needs here in December. 

Donations to Revive Our Hearts over the past several months have been lower than expected. We need to make up that deficit and see strong year-end support so we don't have to scale back on our current levels of ministry. 

As we've been sharing over the past couple of weeks, when you make a much-needed donation to Revive Our Hearts between now and December 31, your gift will be doubled. Some friends of the ministry are matching each gift, up to a total of $650,000. If you've been blessed by this ministry, if the Lord has used it in your life and the lives of others you know, would you ask Him if He’d want you to be a part of helping meet that need. We want to be able to not only meet the $650,000 matching challenge, but to far surpass it so we can be in a good position as we move into 2015 and to take advantage of the many opportunities that God is giving us as a ministry.  

So whether or not you've supported this ministry before, let me encourage you to consider making a gift now. You can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959, or you can donate online and get more details about the ministry and the matching challenge. The web address is ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: Thanks Nancy.

Have you ever gotten an assignment that seemed impossible? Tomorrow we’ll hear from a woman who took on a huge task: To translate poetry from one language to another, keeping the meaning and rhythm of the poems intact. Then present those poems to a huge audience. Find out how God helped her out. She’ll tell the story, next time on Revive Our Hearts.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion